“Mummy, I don’t want you and Papa to perform my Kanyadaan. It is a regressive practice that highlights how you will disown me after marriage! I don’t think any parent should do that to their daughter! Daughters are not commodities for parents to sacrifice! They are their family and they should remain so after marriage!”
“Beta, it is a mandatory ritual of our Hindu marriages. It is a ritual that holds a great significance for parents to give away their daughters to the groom. The performance of this ritual ‘forgives’ the sins of the bride’s parents. Please don’t take away that right from us. Moreover, what will people say, especially your in-laws?”
“Mummy, what will my in-laws say? If they want you to do Kanyadaan, then they should also do Putra-daan! After all, Manav and I are equal. And, my in-laws should also get an opportunity to free themselves from their sins.”
“Riya, have you gone mad? That’s why I told your father to not send you to the US for higher studies. You have no respect for society; no have no respect for our customs! You don’t care about how people will talk on our backs!”
After blaming my education and shaming my ability to ask questions to seek equality, my mother left the discussion and slammed the door in anger!
But, why does our society expect women to wipe off her identity as daughter to become a wife!
Why do we need a custom that treats women as commodity that her parents donate to her husband or in-laws? Why is she devoid of all rights as daughters just because she is becoming someone’s wife? Why is it only for women? Why we don’t expect men be donated as well? Isn’t it one another way the society wants to tell us that how men are superior to women?
Gone are the days, when women were dependent on men. With changing times, women have become more self-reliant. But, it is heart-breaking how our rituals and traditions have remained unchanged with changing times. How our parents don’t hesitate to treat us a commodity to donate! How our parents still rely on the groom’s family for taking care of their daughter.
Dear Society, stop following centuries old rituals in modern times. These regressive rituals only uphold and encourage the patriarchal thought process. These rituals are no less than an attack on women’s self-esteem! These rituals are just another way to tell women that they are less than men!
Dear Society, Though I would suggest to stop following the ritual of Kanyadaan. But if Kanyadaan has to exist, then why not have Putradaan too! Why our traditions lack equality in marriage! As we are living in 21st century, our traditions and institution of marriage need to treat men and women equally.
If we can’t get rid of Kanyadaan, then we should introduce the rituals of Putradaan too! While bride’s parent perform kanyadaan, the groom’s parents should perform the same ceremony for their son. Because in the end, if women have to wipe off their identity as daughters to become wives, so should men!